The Boston Celtics have work to do before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. They have the best record in the NBA and are firmly in the title picture. The Celtics should be all-in on upgrading their roster and finding the missing pieces. Their top six is arguably the best in the world, but does head coach Joe Mazzulla have enough depth to round out his playoff rotation?
Brad Stevens and the front office are never shy. They will push all their chips in if they can find the right move. Making a deal likely means giving up someone on their roster, but Boston should be all about maximizing their championship odds.
What must the Celtics do before the deadline? They have a use-it-or-lose-it trade exception and multiple things to sort out to solidify themselves as one of the title favorites. Here is a closer look at what Boston needs to accomplish.
5. Use trade exception
The Celtics created a $6.2 million trade exception (subscription required) in the Grant Williams trade that expires on July 12, 2024. Boston will be over the second tax apron and unable to use it after this season. It is now or never. The Celtics need to find someone making less than that salary to add or it will go to waste.
They should be looking to add someone capable of impacting their playoff rotation. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, and Al Horford are locked in, but the final two spots are up for grabs. Sam Hauser has taken the early lead as the seventh man, but the Celtics need a trusted final piece. Using this trade exception is the easiest way to acquire one.
The Boston Celtics cannot just be focused on the present because their spending will limit the team’s future financial flexibility.